Annual Mendota Freeze Contest Begins


Cold Water, Falling Temperatures, Frozen Forecast

Clean Lakes Alliance annual Mendota Freeze contest open

Winter is quickly approaching. With the cold temperatures, people around Madison start to ask themselves, “When will our lakes freeze?”

“We experienced a colder than normal November in Madison, with temperatures averaging about five degrees below normal,” said Clean Lakes Alliance Meteorologist Karin Swanson. “The forecast for the next week calls for temperatures near or below freezing, which will help lake temperatures continue to fall.”

Mendota Freeze Quote

More than 165 years of data shows the median freeze date for Lake Mendota is only two weeks away on Dec. 20. Additionally, Lake Mendota has always frozen – even if only for a few weeks. In fact, during the winter of 2001-02, the lake was officially frozen for only 21 days. That three-week ice-on period is much shorter than the record 161 days, set in the winter of 1880-81.

Mendota Freeze Contest

On Dec. 1, Clean Lakes Alliance kicked off its seventh annual Mendota Freeze contest. Calling weather watchers and ice experts of all ages, the contest asks people to guess the official ice-on date for Lake Mendota. The first person to correctly guess the date will win a $1,000 gift card, courtesy of Lands’ End. To enter a guess and to view contest rules, visit www.mendotafreeze.org.

Mendota Freeze Contest Entry Form

Freezing Facts

Here are some historical facts to help Mendota Freeze contestants make a more accurate guess:

  • Earliest Freeze Date: November 23, 1880
  • Latest Freeze Date: January 30, 1932
  • Freeze Date LAST Winter: December 27, 2017
  • Median Freeze Date: December 20th

For a complete list of historical freeze dates for Lake Mendota, visit: https://climatology.nelson.wisc.edu/first-order-station-climate-data/madison-climate/lake-ice/history-of-ice-freezing-and-thawing-on-lake-mendota/

Share it on